SNOHOMISH — Both the Arlington and Snohomish softball coaches were prepared for a one-run battle Tuesday afternoon.
The winning coach expected a one-run game while the losing team’s coach was still enjoying himself because he said he’d much rather play in a close game than a blowout.
Arlington (2-2 league, 7-2 overall) was able to get one run in on a squeeze bunt by Marisa Rathert and that turned out to be enough. The Eagles, led by senior pitcher Hayley Fields, held on to defeat Snohomish 1-0 at Snohomish High School, handing the Panthers (3-1, 8-1) their first loss of the season.
“I was nervous the whole seven innings,” Arlington head coach Dan Eng said. “This is a great ballgame. Two great clubs. They’re scary with batters one through nine. You notice they put quite a few runners on, but fortunately we got the breaks today.”
Lynsey Amundson led off the top of the second inning with a single, one of three hits for Arlington off Snohomish starter Alyssa Simons. Amundson moved to third after a throwing error by the Panthers on a sacrifice bunt by Katelynn Kazen.
Rathert then came up and got the bunt down, with Amundson scoring after the throw to first to get Rathert out.
“We got lucky. I decided to play for one the minute I got Lynsey on (base), not knowing that would be the deciding run the whole game,” Eng said. “Decided to play for one, bunt to get her in scoring position and then pull the safety squeeze at the end.”
Both coaches tried to get more runs on the board, but strong pitching by both sides prevented anybody else from crossing the plate.
“You scratch together a run wherever you can, especially when you look and you’ve got two good pitchers duking it out,” said Lou Kennedy, the Panthers’ head coach. “One-run games are great. I would rather play a one-run game than a blowout any day, even if I’m not going to win because that’s a game.
“That’s a great ballgame. I’d rather win it, of course, but give them credit. They scratched out the one run and that’s all it takes to win sometimes.”
Fields made sure that Arlington’s one run held up. The Eagles pitcher scattered three hits and hit one batter, but only once faced more than three batters in an inning thanks to three double plays by the Eagles’ defense.
The most impressive double play came in the bottom of the second. After Anna Pisac reached base on an error, Simons followed with a hit that got through the infield. An Arlington infielder cut the throw off from the outfield and threw it over Eagles’ third baseman Hayden Fields’ head.
Fields quickly recovered and threw the ball to home plate where Amundson tagged out Pisac. The catcher then quickly threw to second base, trapping Simons between second and third. She was eventually tagged out trying to get to third base.
“That was very unusual,” Eng said of the double play.
Amundson, another Eagles’ senior, led Arlington’s offense, batting 1-for-1 with two walks. Hayley Fields and Rathert had the other two singles for the Eagles.
As good as Fields was for Arlington, Simons was just as powerful for Snohomish. The freshman struck out 16 batters and also just allowed three hits with just the two walks to Amundson, which almost looked intentional.
“To have someone that young as dominating as she can be, and she’s really poised,” Kennedy said. “She gives up a hit, puts a runner on, doesn’t matter. The next kid’s hers. She’s going to go right after them again. It’s really impressive stuff.”
Snohomish’s other starting pitcher, Bailey Seek, was injured in the Panthers’ 11-4 win over Glacier Peak on Monday when a line drive went off her right forearm. Kennedy said the plan before that was to have Simons pitch, but now Snohomish might be relying on its first-year player even more, especially come playoff time.
“We got our junior pitcher hurt yesterday and (Simons) came in and closed the game out nicely,” Kennedy said. “I had her scheduled to start today mostly because those tough games, you have to get that experience. We’re going to need two pitchers when we get to districts.”
Trysten Melhart led Snohomish, going 2-for-3. She led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and got to second base on a sacrifice bunt.
But Fields then got her ninth and 10th strikeouts to end the game and clinch the victory for Arlington.
“There’s a lot of good seniors on that team,” Kennedy said. “It’s really led by a couple of good veterans behind the plate and on the mound. (Fields) pitched a whale of a game. Real good location. She worked her way up, kept batters off-balance. We’ve got a powerful hitting team, we produce a lot of offense, and she kept us really on our heels.”
At Snohomish H.S.
Arlington 010 000 0—1 3 2
Snohomish 000 000 0—0 3 1
Hayley Fields and Lynsey Amundson. Alyssa Simons and Morgan Greenlee. WP–Fields. LP–Simons. Records–Arlington 2-2 league, 7-2 overall. Snohomish 3-1, 8-1.